Custer County and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains offer excellent hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Custer County’s Trails for All group is busy mapping, maintaining and celebrating our existing trails, as well as advocating for new trail construction.

The following trails are some of our most popular. You can access them on foot or from the back of a horse. Grab a water bottle and your favorite four-legged friend for an adventure among Custer County’s beautiful landscapes.

Comanche-Venable Trail Loop

Some 10 miles south of Westcliffe, this 12.3-mile moderately trafficked loop trail takes you past lakes, an old cabin and three thirteeners—Comanche Peak, Venable Peak and Spring Mountain. There’s even a thrilling walk along a ledge called Phantom Terrace.

The Comanche-Venable Loop starts at Alvarado Campground. It’s easiest to hike the Venable Trail side first, saving Comanche’s steeper trail for the descent.

If you’re not up for a dozen-mile hike at high altitude, you can turn around at the stunning Venable Falls, about 2.5 miles up the Venable Trail, or at Venables Lakes, another 2 miles or so farther.

Lakes of the Clouds

This loop trail offers a breathtaking, moderate approach and some of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. Along the hike is a magnificent waterfall and a ridge climb for the truly adventurous. With easy access to Spread Eagle Peak, these lakes are also a great basecamp for all sorts of adventures.

Lakes of the Clouds may be one of the easier basins to reach in the Sangres, but their setting is no less dramatic than the Crestones or the Blanca basin to the south. The Lakes of the Clouds trail starts west of Westcliffe at Gibson Creek Trailhead.

Rainbow Trail

Colorado’s famous Rainbow Trail crosses Saguache, Chaffee, Fremont and Custer County. The trail provides approach access to many fourteeners and more than a dozen alpine lakes. At an average elevation of 9,000 feet, the trail careens through forests and green meadows.

Although the trail began as a foot and horseback route, it now accepts mountain bikes, motorcycles and, for the entire stretch in Custer County, all-terrain vehicles.

And Many More…

Explore the trail summaries on the Trails for All website, or take a look at for information and ratings on many more trails in Westcliffe and Custer County.

Read the 10 Essentials of Hiking from the American Hiking Association. 


Alpine Lakes
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